Towards the last two months of my last visit to India in the spring of 2012, I encountered the Tibetan community in exile in India experiencing painful news of their people self-immolating in fire one after another in China-occupied Tibet. My experiences in the past visits in India (drawing a cremation site in Varanasi, documenting fire pits, cremation alters, and contemplating on life and death around fire) synchronized with this particular movement, an extreme way of ‘offering’ their bodies to ‘fire’ for asking freedom and peace.I could not help drawing large and small drawings as emotional response and with a sense of mourning.

After coming back to Vancouver, the self-immolation kept happening and I felt that my personal and professional task is not finished.

I have come back to India to continue to document and draw under the same theme.

16 April 2015

For Nyikyab ( Dhamkar)

For Nyikyab who self immolated in the village of Suruma in Ngaba county, Amdo, Tibet on April 15 2015.  He set himself on fire after calling out slogans.

Pictures of himself in Tibetan dress, his dead body, and a makeshift alter made by him before his self immolation protest, came to the exile Tibetan community first.

The alter was adorned with a framed photograph of the 14th Dalai Lama, and late the 10th Panchen Lama, his family pictures with his children, various offering bowls, and flowers.
Imagine the feeling when he was making the alter, making offerings, and looking at pictures of his gurus and his dear family.  Prostrations, prayers, burning incense, and he offered himself.
The alter of somber and a pure heart.

Please come back to your homeland and may a real peace and freedom soon prevail there.